Concert Review: Surfer Blood, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Grand Central, June 12

Poplife's Anniversary Party
With Surfer Blood, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Hooray for Earth
Grand Central, Miami
Saturday, June 12, 2010

Better than: Getting pains for being too pure of heart, or surfing in blood, or....

The Review:

The hipsterati and then some came out in droves on Saturday for Poplife's 11th anniversary party at Grand Central. So many, in fact, that show-goers were guided to a "free parking lot" and escorted by shuttle to the venue, not unlike riding the tram to Disney World. Still, it was welcome, and if this is a new service offered by Grand Central, we hope it sticks. 

Vests, trendy stripes, and plaid filled the venue as the masses awaited for the bands to take to the stage. Hooray for Earth began its set almost immediately, and the under-21s lined the area as they sung along. Barring a very minor amp glitch, the band's synth-pop sound was clear and crisp, with the act playing less like show-openers and more like veterans. They ended their set with a cover of the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," but we feared most of the people dancing front and center were too young to get the Dirty Dancing song reference.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart followed. The New York natives were met by a surprisingly large and fanatical local following, who all but dove over the previously mentioned under-agers to get their jam on. These were fans so devoted, they came in the band's official T-shirts and totes, and raised the energy level almost instantly. It was a dramatic display of love for these modest twee-poppers, especially considering the group released its self-titled debut full-length just last year.

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Despite the great start, the real scene-stealers of the night were obviously Surfer Blood. The lights brightened, the LED backdrop strengthened, and the crowd multiplied. Many locals saw this as the band's welcome-home party, and the band was more than grateful to its fans, dropping in comments like, "You guys are a sexy audience," and, "It's good to be home" throughout their set. 

One unexpected break in the good vibes came, though, in a sudden swipe at the venue" "Awesome venue, too bad it's run by a bunch of dicks," they said in one song break. "We will never play here again!" Then it was on to the next song. Wait, what?

Despite that blip, the band never lost momentum, and the venue transformed into more of a festival vibe, with constant crowd-surfing, hand-raising, and head-bopping. For an encore performance, Surfer Blood brought the Pains of Being Pure at Heart back to the stage and played a joint cover of Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy." The crowd ate it up, and most stayed for the DJ-driven dance party after the show.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I have a special place in my heart for '60s surfer movies and beachy surf rock, so it's no surprise that I'd love local band gone big Surfer Blood.

By the Way: Surfer Blood are playing the Oil.Spill.Benefit show at Propaganda on June 30.

Random Detail: The girl in the black dress dancing frantically/head-bashing on the table on the left side of the venue really added to the crowd's energy, and really made me want to dance.

Random Detail #2: An extremely tall man in a high-waistedSspeedo, some kind of body paint, and a horse mask with a really long "tail" attached came out towards the end of Surfer Blood's set. Ummm....

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